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Program Information:


  • Immerse yourself over a Maymester in the sights and sounds of Dakar, Senegal, one of Africa’s most exciting and vibrant capitals.
  • Learn about this geographic, cultural and linguistic crossroads, which is deeply immersed in global histories of African, Islamic and Francophone cultures.
  • Visit major world heritage sites of African history, such as Gorée Island.
  • Take in the groundbreaking artworks on display at the International Dakar Biennial (on even-numbered years only).
  • Collaborate creatively with the Senegalese activist theater troupe Kaddu Yaraax on a public presentation discussing issues of development and global equity.
  • Apply to be the videographer for the program and receive a scholarship if selected!



Missed the info session? View the presentation here!


Set along the Atlantic Ocean on the westernmost tip of Africa, Dakar has long served as a gateway between civilizations and as a crossroads of multiple religious, linguistic and cultural influences. Today, the capital contains a cosmopolitan mix of major cultural events, a bustling urban vibrancy and the sights and sounds of a rich West African and Sufi Islamic culture. Dakar is the capital of the region’s most stable democracy, and for this reason has become a major hub of international and non-governmental organizations operating throughout West Africa. Senegal’s reputation as a land of peace and hospitality has made the country a common visiting place for students, scholars, artists and diplomats from around the world.


You will be assigned homestays around the Amitié 3 neighborhood of Dakar, a residential area that is centrally located, with easy access to restaurants, groceries and other services.


You will be responsible for making your own travel arrangements to and from Dakar.


Fish Market Woman on beach
  • Course: FREN3400 - Cultures of Activism in Dakar, Senegal
  • Credits: 3 upper-division credit hours
  • Approved for: FREN major/minor credit, IAFS Africa/Middle East Geographic Concentration, Engineering Humanities/Social Science
  • Grading: This is a CU Boulder course, so you will receive letter grades
  • See course description

This seminar takes students on an immersive discovery of the multiple facets of Senegalese history and identity. These include the Islamic heritage of this 95-percent Muslim country, whose religious life and spirit are characterized by the visual and aural devotions of the four major Sufi brotherhoods. Also considered a major site of Francophone culture, Senegal was a pioneer in global projections of an independent and strong African culture following the end of French colonialism in the region. Finally, Senegal stands as a model of peace and stability on the African continent, as well as a center of cosmopolitan culture, as evidenced by the visibility of its arts biennial and the long list of pioneering Senegalese writers, artists and filmmakers.

In the first two weeks, the program will explore this rich cultural heritage through coursework complemented by guest speakers and artists as well as group outings to Gorée Island, and throughout the city to explore the Biennial galleries and expositions.

The third and final week will be devoted to a collaborative and immersive experience with the Senegalese activist theater troupe, Kaddu Yaraax.  Students will work creatively with their Senegalese peers on a presentation project that addresses issues of social justice and global development explored during our coursework. The project will culminate in the capstone event, a public presentation and discussion with the local community of Yaraax, a small fishing village located on the outskirts of Dakar.

Lectures and discussions will be in English and there are no language prerequisites. However, students of French will be able to count the seminar toward a French major or minor by completing their assignments and presentation in French.


The Culture, Development & Performance Global Seminar is directed by Brian Valente-Quinn of the Department of French & Italian.

Brian Valente-Quinn, Assistant Professor of French, has conducted extensive research and fieldwork in Dakar, and is currently preparing a book project and documentary film, both of which explore theatrical performance and culture in urban Senegal. Through the course of his fieldwork he has become a collaborator of the Kaddu Yaraax theater company, working with the troupe on several research and performance projects. At CU, Brian teaches courses on Francophone African culture, literature and cinema. He considers himself very fortunate to be able to return regularly to Senegal for his research and teaching, and his favorite thing about Senegalese culture is its deep commitment to hospitality, tradition and mutual respect.

See Brian Valente-Quinn's Faculty Spotlight.


The program requires full-time participation in lectures, site-visits, and excursions. You will have some free time to explore Dakar on your own.


Theater Performance by Kàddu Yaraax
  • Gilman Scholarship: For students currently receiving Pell grants as part of their federal financial aid.


  • West Africa Access Scholarships: Extra scholarship funding is available for students applying to CU Boulder approved programs in West Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal). To apply, please fill out the Buffs Abroad Scholarships application by the published deadline.
  • Eaton Travel Sabbatical Scholarship: Anthropology, History, and Economics majors with junior standing by the start of their education abroad program are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Preference is given to students studying in a non-traditional location.
  • Global Seminar Videographer Scholarship




Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline App Review Begins Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 15-FEB-2018
Variable 12-MAY-2018 02-JUN-2018
NOTE: Dates on this page are for information only; final dates will be confirmed with participants after acceptance to the program. Do not purchase airfare until instructed to do so by your Program Manager. The Start Date indicates the day participants arrive at the program location; the End Date indicates the day participants depart from the program location.
Summer 2019 01-MAR-2019 ** Variable TBA TBA

** Most programs’ applications are reviewed on a rolling basis (starting August 1st for Spring programs and January 15th for Summer and Fall programs). NOTE: Some programs start the admissions process earlier and fill before the deadline, and some programs’ applications aren’t reviewed until after the deadline. Check with Education Abroad staff for details.

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